Professional Development


Applying for the CUPEU Professional Development fund (Article 10.09), is an opportunity for members to improve their professional skills particularly for enhancing their work for the University. Here are 10 key things you need to know:

1. A Note to Members

2. Eligibility

3. Ineligibility

4. Funding Approval

5. Application Process

6. Payment Options

7. Travel Policy

8. Expense and Reimbursement

9. Expense Report Filing with Unity – NEW

10. Testimonials

1. A Note to Members

The Professional Development processing structure is based on considerable feedback from the membership and careful deliberation on how to best serve it as a whole. The maximum amount for members to request is a significant amount of money at $4,757.10, so it is within reason that every requirement of the current process is observed and completed correctly.

The University, CUPEU Union and CUPEU Professional Development Committee will not tolerate rude behaviour from members at any part of the PD process (application, (dis)approval, reimbursement).

To minimize frustration, it is highly recommended that you start planning, if not preparing, months in advance so if you have questions or concerns, you can get in touch with CUPEU to help you prepare your application properly and in a timely manner.

If you will not need or do not use the approved PD funds (e.g. due to event cancellation or scheduling conflict); let the VP Special Projects know as soon as possible.

Try looking for the best cost-effective means for travel and accommodation arrangements; it would be nice to dispense funds to as many CUPEU members as possible.

The deadline to submit properly completed applications for each round is 5:00 p.m. This is a firm deadline and there are no exceptions.

2. Eligibility

To be eligible for Professional Development funding, you must:

  • be a permanent employee who has completed the probation period OR be in a contract for at least three consecutive years in the same job.
  • be a signed CUPEU member (you must have attended a CUPEU Welcome Meeting and signed the CUPEU membership form).
  • not have been awarded CUPEU Professional Development funds in the current fiscal year (May 1, 20XY  to April 31, 20XZ).
  • Applications should be received before the 5.00pm deadline for consideration.

3. Ineligibility

Members NOT eligible to apply for CUPEU Professional Development:

  • are on contract for less than three years in the same job
  • are on time-sheets
  • are on leave or will be on leave at the time of their proposed activity (sick, maternity/paternal)
  • are still completing their probation period
  • are not signed members of the union and have not attended the CUPEU Welcome Meeting (contact if you’re unsure / would like to schedule a meeting. In light of COVID-19, a Zoom meeting can be arranged)
  • have paid for their proposed Professional Development activity prior to applying for the CUPEU Professional Developent Fund
  • Applications received after the 5.00pm deadline will not be accepted for consideration.

No funds shall be allocated for the purchase of equipment (e.g. computers, cameras, photocopiers, office chairs, etc.).

4. Funding approval

Priority for approval goes to requests relating to your current job and where you stand in this order:

  • first-time applicants
  • applicants who’ve not applied in the last three years
  • applicants who’ve not applied in the last two years
  • everyone else

Approvals are based on these considerations and the availability of funds. The Professional Development Committee’s decisions are final.

5. Application Process

1. Members can apply digitally using the digital application form. Download it here (when prompted, save this file as a PDF). You’ll need Adobe Acrobat to fill it out).

  • Send your application to Use “ PD Round X (Year) Application – Your Name” as the subject line. Attach these two files:
    • Your application form (Year(XXXX)-PD-YourName-application.pdf)
    • All supporting documents for the specific activity as ONE combined PDF (Year(XXXX)-PD-YourName-supporting-documents.pdf)

2. Fill all required fields. Avoid being disqualified for incomplete information by ensuring that you:

  • disclose previous PD funds you’ve been awarded and when (month, year)
  • provide sufficient travel information and budget amounts (e.g. cost of books)
  • provide the exchange rate used
  • verify that you are not claiming meals covered by event organizers. Applications are considered incomplete without this verification
  • provide a scanned PDF of the signed Supervisor’s Approval of Absence Form if time off work is required
    • For conferences
      • Itinerary / program of events
      • Registration fee
      • Approximate travel fare (ie. flight, train, bus)
      • Car mileage
      • Hotel accommodation fee
      • Meals
    • For courses and workshops
      • Program and course / workshop description
      • Cost
    • For membership and association dues
      • Description of organization/association
      • Cost
    • For books, magazines and software
      • Description
      • Cost
  • Each application will have different requirements based on the type of activity or supplies requested. At a minimum, all applications must include the following:
    • Application Form
    • Description of request
    • Form(s) specific to the activity(ies)
    • Total Budget form

3. The deadline to submit properly completed applications for each round is 5:00 p.m. This is a firm deadline and there are no exceptions. You will receive an email confirming that we received your application. The application deadline dates for the upcoming rounds of this fiscal year are:

Round 1: Jun. 4, 2024
Apply starting May. 20, 2024
For June (Second half) to Sept activities

Round 2: Sept. 3, 2024
Apply starting Aug. 20, 2024
For September (Second half) to December activities

Round 3: Dec. 3, 2024
Apply starting Nov. 21, 2024
For December (Second half) to March 2024 activities.

Round 4: Mar. 4, 2025
Apply starting Feb. 18, 2025
For March (Second half) to June activities

Total funding for each round is limited to one-fourth of the fund’s value on June 1 of the current budget year.

4. The Professional Development Committee meets two weeks after the application deadline to review applications. Successful applicants will be notified by email from the VP of Special Projects soon thereafter.

• Applications for events, workshops or learning/ development activities that take place within this 2-week window will not be considered.
• Plan ahead. If your conference is scheduled for Sept 24-26, 2018, apply in the June 2018 round. If you are not sure when to apply, get in touch with the union.

5. You can proceed to pay for your proposed expenses only when your application is approved; expenditures made otherwise will not be refunded whether the application is approved or not.

6. Payment Option

The University no longer advances cash except in the following way:

Corporate Card: If you hold or you have access to a Department Corporate card, you may use it to charge all your Professional Development expenses. Please fill out your T-Card expense report in UNITY as soon as your statement is out to avoid interest charges. Please charge to the SAP object (IO) number provided to you after your application has been approved.

7. Travel policy

If you are considering travel, refer to the following documents from the university:

8. Expenses and reimbursement

Once the committee informs you which activities and amounts were approved, you can begin to pay for those activities (expenses paid for before approval cannot be claimed). Make sure to keep all receipts. You will be responsible for any expenses that exceed the approved amounts. All expense reimbursements can only be claimed after the PD Activity

You must file expense reports through Unity. With the move to Unity, processing an expense report has changed for the whole Concordia community. The university provides extensive information online to help individuals successfully complete this step. Refer to all available links provided and recommended by the University to learn how to process Expense reports. Here is information from the university on the new system (login required):

  1. The university’s online tutorial

Don’t forget:

    1. Keep all receipts and scan them so they can be uploaded digitally.
    2. Boarding passes are required to validate your travel expense claims.
    3. If you paid for expenses with foreign currency, provide credit card statements that highlight transactions or include Bank of Canada’s day exchange rates with your claim if cash was used.
    4. You must send a one-page summary of how the PD activities enriched you professionally no later than 60 days following your PD activity to VP Special Projects (email a digital version to: and your Approval Supervisor. Failure to do so jeopardizes the status of your next request for Professional Development funds.
    5. It is the member’s responsibility to submit a complete and properly filled expense report with supporting documents through Unity; failure of which will may cause the reimbursement process to take more time.
    6. Expense reports must be submitted within 30 days from the approved activity’s date, except for those paid using the Corporate Card, which must be submitted as soon as you get your US Bank Statement.
    7. You are responsible for any expenses that exceed the approved amounts from your application.
    8. Processing a claim takes approximately 3-4 weeks, at which point Financial Services will reimburse funds to your bank account and email a notification to you.

9. Expense report filing with Unity – NEW

PD expenses must be filed using UNITY CONCUR. No other form of claim will be accepted for reimbursement.

  1. When logged into Carrefour find:
    UNITY > Finance & Procurement Tab > My Expense Reports
    (Selecting “My Expense Reports” will open a new window for SAP CONCUR, which will require your login information for access, where you’ll see all your outstanding workflows / expenses).
  2. Select +Start a report to create a new Expense report
  3. Here’s how to fill the following fields:
    Policy:  Select Travel Card & Out of Pocket expenses
    Report type: Select Out of Pocket
    Report Name: Enter CUPEU PD Expenses
    Business Purpose – Enter Concordia University
    Report Key – Not Fillable
    Travel Category – Select Non Travel, or General Travel
    Cost Object Type – Change “Department Cost Centre” default setting by selecting Internal Order (IO)
    Cost Object Id – In “Type to search by,” select: Code, then enter the I/O code issued to you via email
    .*  Select “PDYOURNAME (33000XXX)” which will appear as the last search result in the dropdown menu.
    * If your application was approved before December 2021 (Round 3) download this file to generate your new IO number from your old PD code (HC0XXX) issued via email. Enter the old PD code into the Banner/Millennium code cell to generate your new PD code (under the Unity Cost Object cell )
    Screen shot of Unity GL Cost Object Finder
    Comment – Enter PD Activity for Round X, 202Y Click “Next” on the bottom right corner of the screen to start entering your expenses.
  4. To add expenses click +New Expense. This opens a dialogue box where you can fill Expense Type (eg.: books, professional membership, hotel). You can select one of the options provided or download the GL-Accounts sheet  to find your expense description and enter it in the field.
  5. When filling out the expense details, the Comment / Reason for Purchase is required.
  6. Itemize: Only itemize receipts that have different Expense Types (eg. A hotel bill might include food and accommodation, please separate these values in Itemize Tab). Most expenses do not need itemization if they are singular in their type, however you will be asked to itemize Professional Dues, Hotel and other expenses. You can itemize the whole amount if your bill is one line item, but you still have to do it in the tab, otherwise the system will not allow you to save the expense.
  7. Allocate: This relates to which account this expense is being charged. Click to confirm it is your personal IO and NOT your department Cost Centre. Press Save and click on Done to close the window.
  8. Attach Receipt:  Only one JPG or PDF version of the receipt will be accepted.
  9. Save: Saves the line item of your expense
  10. If you have more expense items, repeat #4-9 for each expense.
  11. Submit your report only AFTER fixing all the exceptions, otherwise your Expense report will be rejected.
  12. You can add Bank Statements (If your expenses were in Forex) under the Receipts section (Attach Receipts Images)

As USUAL, you are expected to keep original receipts in case Accounts Payable requests them.

10. Testimonials

Here’s what successful applicants have had to say about the fund:

“For past ten years I have benefited from CUPEU Professional Development fund. I use it to pay the annual fee of my professional engineer membership and sometimes, I use it to acquire technical books. I find that our VPs make great effort to prepare the on-line form, which makes the application easy to do –really appreciated and thanks again!” –Engineering Specialist, ECE Department

“The insights acquired through professional networking opportunities funded by the CUPEU Professional PD funds have equipped me with techniques that I can put into practice immediately.  The training materials are made available to all members of my department.  Continuous professional education is very important particularly in Higher Ed environment, so don’t miss your chance, the application procedure is simple, apply now.” –Internal Auditor

“Attending the conference was a positive experience, one that I feel really helped me to grow in my professional development, for my job as an Assistant Prospect Researcher and for the particular duties that I complete in my role on a regular basis.

The new skills that I learned have given me confidence in my abilities as a writer. I feel that my writing has improved as a result of attending this workshop.

I am very thankful that I had this opportunity to develop professionally for my work in the University Advancement office. The experience was pleasurable and useful and I hope to have the support and take advantage of another opportunity like this in the future.” –Assistant Prospect Researcher, University Advancement

“I am very happy to report that I wrote and passed the Certified Fund Raising Executive certification!  

The CFRE exam is notoriously difficult and many people do not succeed the first time they write it. This is why the AFP CFRE Refresher course was essential to my success. Following this experience, I feel that I am a better-rounded professional than I was at the outset.

I am now able to use the credentials in my email signature and on my business card. Achieving the CFRE is a personal and professional milestone for me and will certainly lead to greater career opportunities in the future. I am grateful to the CUPEU Professional Development committee for making this possible!” –Interim Principal Director of Development, Faculty of Fine Arts

Next PD Deadline: June 4th, 2024



VP Specials Projects:


Round 1: Jun. 4, 2024
Apply starting May. 20, 2024
For June (Second half) to Sept Activities

Round 2: Sept. 3, 2024
Apply starting Aug. 20, 2024
For September (Second half) to December Activities

Round 3: Dec. 3, 2024
Apply starting Nov. 19, 2024
For December (Second half) to March 202 activities.

Round 4: Mar. 4, 2025
Apply starting Feb. 18, 2025
For March (Second half) to June activities.